This is a guest post written by Kim S., who bravely tells us her story of addiction and healing which she experienced through her marriage. I hope you feel the same encouragement that I did when reading her testimony.
Kim Skinner says:
No one expects to fail in marriage.
I certainly didn’t. After thirty years of marriage to the sexiest, sweetest man around, I see our “success”, so far, completely and absolutely as a gift from God. You see, not only did I believe that I would be a terrific, faithful wife, but I also thought I knew how much God loved me. I was wrong on both counts.
Nevertheless, we have a loving God who invented marriage to reveal His mysterious, redeeming love to a hurting world and to expose the depth of our brokenness to ourselves!
On the day I married, during a sand-storm in West Texas, my family and friends would have observed a “successful” bride. I was well-educated and polished. I had enjoyed a few years of professional modeling in Nashville and had the photos to prove it.
I knew how to facet gemstones and sew my own clothes. I could cook anything, and most importantly, wrote terrific thank-you notes for all of the wedding presents showered upon me.
I was determined to be a good, loving wife so I drank no alcohol during the weekend festivities so as to be fully appreciative of every moment of our nuptials.
In the eyes of everyone present, and even myself, I was off to a good start.
Over the next three years my husband was made aware of my secret drinking tendencies. Humiliated and tearful, I would explain how I knew I shouldn’t drink at all and I re-committed to never drink again. We both, I believe, saw my problem as one of external choices. He chose to be supportive and I chose to try harder.
On the fateful night when, in a vodka-induced black-out, I left the guests at our dining table and passed out in the bedroom, my husband was forced to look below the surface for answers. This is what he concluded after a sleepless night.
- I needed “fixing” and he didn’t have a clue how to do it.
- Despite all of my external qualities, I was deeply flawed.
- His vow “in sickness and in health” applied to such a time as this!
- He could only face all of this with God’s help.
One of the most memorable, life-changing days of my life was also the most painful and embarrassing. I awoke the next morning to a familiar reality. A screaming headache prevented my eyes from opening. Bleary thoughts struggled to recall memories from the previous evening.
Could I just get up and pretend that everything was normal?
My eyes slowly opened. Kneeling beside the bed, my husband stroked my face. I squinted, wanting to avoid eye-contact.
Kim, you scared me to death last night. I couldn’t awaken you and your eyes kept rolling around in your head. I know now, that you really have a problem and we are going to get you some help. I am re-committing myself to you now. Know that I am with you in this.”
The tears flooded my eyes. Fumbling in the bedclothes, he took me in his arms and rocked me. Something deep within me was unveiled. This is what I recall:
- This man, seeing me at my absolute worst, still loved me.
- Somehow, his seeing the depths of my sin allowed me to honestly see it.
- This depth seemed to , more clearly, expose the depth of his love for me.
- I had failed him and, though undeserving of his love, still possessed it!
The story does not conclude with “the twelve-step program” and “happily-ever-after”. It does, however, mark a radical shift in my personal relationship with Christ and in our marriage. Before, Bible study had been more academic and the stories seemed to present ideals to follow.
Suddenly, I recognized that the healing, pursuing love of Jesus, is what I experienced that hung-over morning through my marriage.
God was personally speaking to me on every page of the Bible.
You have been hiding like Eve, but I shed blood to cover you.”
“You have been lying and cheating like Jacob, but I am wrestling you down until my love is all you want.”
“You used to be the “good girl” full of fear and pride, but now I hear you say ‘Have mercy on me-a sinner.'”
As the child of an alcoholic, I knew I had a problem. In the intimate union of marriage, however, I was able to truly see my problem and I had the security of knowing that I did not face it alone. I guess that is what it means in Ephesians 5:26. Husbands are to cleanse their wives “by the washing with water through the Word.”
Jesus sacrificed everything to cleanse us, His bride, and as I saw my husband sacrificing himself for me, I slowly transformed.
The story continues after thirty years. The “becoming one flesh” thing really IS a mystery. But, I tell my children, and now, grandchildren what I’ve learned. Mom (or Nana Nutkin) and Dad (Pops) are really more messed-up with selfishness and pride than we actually see. Furthermore, and at the same time, we are more loved, accepted, and treasured by the God who made us than we could ever believe! “Pops”, or my husband, has had several tearful moments as well, as God used me to reveal his addiction to “comfort “.
My married children started out, thankfully, with an awareness of hidden shortcomings and an intense desire to help their spouse become more like Christ.
A hurting world looks on!
As they see couples who humbly admit their shortcomings without excuse or defense, and continue to sacrifice for their spouse without scorekeeping or resentment, the healing light shines through.
It is the light of the Gospel. It is the power to heal. It is the privilege of those who are married!
By Kim S.
Bio: Kim has been making women laugh and helping them to understand God’s love for them for the past twenty five years. As a recovering alcoholic , having struggled with bulimia and depression, and as a mother of many , she has an understanding of the unique hardships and callings of women.
Kim, a native Texan, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where she received a Masters in Special Education. She has been married to David for 30 years. They have five children, two foster sons and three grandchildren . She enjoys her barnyard animals but prefers to shepherd women of all ages who have questions about their purpose, their origin, and future hope.